The Beginning of Weir High

The following is from the very first Onawa yearbook (Onawa was Weir high’s yearbook name till 1939, when they changed it to Weirite)



    Weir High came into existence as a second class school under the name of Butler District High School with only a few students enrolled and under the leadership of Professor Tabler. In the following two years the enrollment of B. D. H. S. gradually increased and the course was extended to four years.

    Finally under the supervision of Professor A. A. McEndree the work showed marked signs of success. A laboratory was installed which made possible more efficient work and which necessitated the increase of the faculty. Under the instruction of H. B. N. Pritchard, the first class in science began its battles and won a reputation by making practical experiments.

    This year marked the beginning of athletic activities, creating the first interest in the community in High School sports. A short baseball schedule was played and a few football skirmishes were participated in, while basketball tossers got their start on an outdoor court. This being the first attempt, the brilliancy of our would-be-stars was marred by a dull finish. The students at that time were pioneers of our literary fame.

    On the evening of May 25, 1917, three girls, Elizabeth Hoehn, Mary Shakeley, and Florence Stetson, received the rewards of patient labor for four years, and enjoyed the distinction of being the first class to graduate. This class was honored by having the Hon. M. P. Shawkey, State Superintendent of Schools to deliver the commencement address.

    On account of the great increase in the High School, a larger building was required which became a reality in the present form of Butler District High School. The year 1918 was marked by the change in administration in the B. D. schools and Professor W. D. Johnston came to us with his genial disposition and his efficient supervision. New interest and enthusiasm was in evidence everywhere. At once Mr. Johnston set about to make our school a first class High School and since this time we rank with the best High Schools in the state.

    Feeling that the name was inappropriate the school was given the name of Weir High School in honor of Messrs. E. T. and D. M. Weir, who were the founders of the Weirton Steel Co. and the town of Weirton. Several new courses were added to the curriculum to suit the needs of the High School. A library was installed for the use of the students and has from time to time been increased. Literary work and athletics were taken up with renewed activity; boys’ and girls’ basketball teams were organized. The girls were under the coaching of Elva Mann and the boys, Mr. Henry Meals, and having the advantage of a new gym, were able to meet some of the best teams in the Valley. Professor Houle, the principal, was an able instructor in debating and gave much attention to this line of work; consequently the literary standing was raised. Although the High School has increased greatly in size the graduating class contained the same number as the previous year.

    The next year was interrupted at the close of the first semester by the change in principals; otherwise the work was carried on as in the previous year. Sports made slow progress due to having no regular coach. The graduating class was increased to four.

    1920, was a year of great prosperity for Weir High. The faculty was increased in order to cope with the increased enrollment, domestic science department added, chemistry laboratory re-enforced, and new social activities helped make High School life more pleasant. A debating club was organized and W. H. S. accepted a challenge offered by Follansbee High, and won both at home and abroad. An orator in the preliminaries also represented the school to the state oratorical contest, at Wheeling. Under the direction of Coach Stoops, Weir High made its name in basketball, having a wonderfully successful season. At the same time, through the effort of Mr. Stoops, Weir High was accepted as a member of the Ohio Valley Athletic Association. A short baseball schedule was arranged.

    The last of May 1920, the largest graduating class from this school was presented with their diplomas, five in number, and a rather remarkable fact was that four of these were boys and there was only one girl.

    And finally the last year is at hand, 1921. So far the best year of the High School. Due to the successful principalship of Professor G. L. Bush, increasing activities have been undertaken and the publication of an annual for the first time attempted.


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